The metal forced the air from his lungs as he was dropped. A heavily booted foot shoved against his back and he was suddenly sliding, his body twisting and rolling uncontrollably. There was nothing for his bare feet to grip to slow his descent and his cry of pain echoing close around him as an exposed rivet gouged into his calf. With his hands bound behind his back there was no way he could brace him as his uncontrolled descent came to an abrupt halt when his shoulder slammed painfully into the bottom of the pit Dick Grayson now found himself at the bottom of.
He groaned at the flare of pain, and looked back up the way he had fallen. Corrugated metal sides surrounded him and the thick ripple-like surface pressed into his back. Half of a large metal door was swinging into place twenty feet over his head and beyond that he could several feet of soil and stone above that.
Dick felt the thread of fear and swallowed the rising panic. But seeing the interior of a shipping container that would be his prison…
No, not prison; His tomb.
The shadow of his abductor – an unseen man who had grabbed and tasered Dick inside the school gymnasium change rooms as he had lagged behind after practice – was silhouetted against the fading sunlight overhead as the man held the other half of the door open. He felt the shadow's eyes on him and he couldn't stop the terror from overwhelming him. He wanted to be strong, to be Robin, but this was a scenario he had never trained for, had never anticipated being victim to.
He had read the still unsolved case files on the computer in the cave. Fourteen abductions across the state in the last five years: fourteen ransoms, nine recoveries, two bodies, three still missing and presumed dead.
And now Dick knew first hand why the media called the psycho the Gravedigger.
"He'll pay!" He yelled up at the shadow, bracing himself against the wall and surging to his feet. Dick hissed at the pain pulsing through his leg and glanced down at the wound bleeding freely. He shifted his weight from the injured leg and looked upward again. "Whatever ransom you're asking, Bruce will pay it! You don't have to leave me here!"
A half dozen snapped and illuminated glow sticks rained down around Dick. They were quickly followed by a dozen more darkened sticks that he knew would be for his use as the activated ones faded. His stomach churned with the realization that he was going to be there a long time.
"Please!" He screamed up at the man as he started to close the door. "Please, don't!"
The metal rang almost painfully around him as the door slammed into place.
He had to get out!
Trying to calm his racing hard, Dick fell to his knees and tucked his body into a ball. He ignored the sticky warmth of his own blood as his forehead touched the floor while he wriggled his bound wrists around his hips and to the ground beneath his buttocks. Crunching his torso even small, he stepped between his arms, first with one leg then the other. With his arms now tied in front of him he was biting at the thick cable tie as the sounds of the first layers of dirt being spilled overhead.
"No!" Dick screamed, forgoing getting his hands free and using the horizontal ripples in the walls to try climbing toward the doors.
The dirt continued falling, grains of soil and small pebbles slipping through the crack between the two halves of the door. Braced in the corner of the container, using what little foot and hand holds the corrugated siding provided, Dick was nearing the top in a matter of minutes.
And then he slipped.
The blood from his leg had seeped beneath his foot and, on the metal siding, was a deadly oversight.
He landed hard, the foot of his wounded leg landing on one of the glow sticks. The circular object rolled beneath his weight, twisting his leg unnaturally and he cried out in pain as the leg buckled beneath him when the ankle bone snapped
He lay panting on the ground, staring up at the sounds above him that were muted now. The dirt had rapidly filled over the buried container, leaving the injured and terrified teen trapped only god and a madman knew where.
"Over here, please, Mr. Wayne!"
He turned toward the shout, a beaming smile plastered on his face, and he was rewarded with a blinding flash in the eyes as he sliced through the thick red ribbon with an oversized pair of scissors.
Bruce wanted nothing more than to be anywhere else but here, the dozens of reporters and paparazzi shouting out his name and questions and all wanting a piece of him. However, as the public face of the largest contributing company to the new Oncology Wing of Gotham General Hospital, he was expected to not only make an appearance, but to be happy about doing it to.
In his pocket he felt his phone vibrating as a call game through, but he ignored it in favor of handing the almost comically sized scissors to the hospital administrator beside him. He absently shook the hands with the other supporters and some of the patients that had been wheeled out for the photo op.
To the side of the crowd, Lucius Fox was smirking as Bruce finally managed to weave his way through the mass of bodies.
"Can we go now," the billionaire muttered for only his CEO to hear.
Lucius chuckled and patted the younger man on the shoulder. "Just remember, you get to do this all over again next week when the Wayne Foundation renovations to the North Side Youth Center are finished."
"Can I change my mind and be an evil megalomaniac like Luthor?"
The chuckle turned into a full out laugh and Bruce smiled at his associate. His phone beeped that he had a voice mail and he reached for the device as the pair made their way for the exit.
He entered the code to his messages and was half listening to Lucius as the man was discussing about the upcoming conference call they were heading back to Wayne Towers for.
However, after the first six words of the message, Bruce's step faltered and his light smile had disappeared.
Lucius noticed and stopped beside the man just outside the Hospital main door. "Bruce, what is it?"
Bruce swallowed the lump that formed in his throat and he realized he was finding it hard to catch his breath. His distress did not go unnoticed by Lucius, nor by Alfred who was standing outside the awaiting limousine at the nearby curb.
His free hand was clenched into a fist when he started moving toward the car. "Not here."
He scrambled into the back seat and Lucius was right behind him. Seconds later, Alfred was in the driver's seat. Before the older man could turn around, Bruce was snapping orders.
"Gotham PD, Alfred, now."
"Right away, Sir."
"Bruce," Lucius demanded, thrown back into his seat as Alfred sped away. "What the hell has happened?"
The hand that held the cell phone was shaking as Bruce held it out. The digitized voice cut through the air as the message replayed over the speaker.
"Richard Grayson has been buried alive. A wire transfer of twenty-five million dollars will be made within thirty hours to the following Grand Cayman account, or he will suffocate to death. Upon receiving the wire transfer I will provide you with Richard Grayson's GPS coordinates. This will be my last communication."
The pain that was building behind his temples was mild, but enough to draw Dick out of his panicked stupor. He blinked a few times to clear the fog from his mind and slowly came back to himself.
His leg was numb which he decided, after looking down and seeing the inflamed gouge on his calf and the angle which his ankle bent, was probably a good thing. His fingers were tingling almost painfully, but he pushed it aside for the moment as he lifted himself off the floor and into a sitting position.
Carefully, as not to jostle his leg too much, he shifted around the floor and grabbed up the glow sticks. He set them on his lap and he picked them up, and several slow minutes later he was pressed into the corner with his back resting against the wall. Dick looked around his prison.
"Okay," he said to himself, his voice breaking the overwhelming quiet. "About twenty feet high, seven or eight feet wide and long… that's just about one thousand cubic feet. That means, if my math is right and it always is, less than eighteen hours of breathable air before I start feeling the effects of the carbon dioxide. Six hours after that, I lose consciousness and another six before… Okay, shutting up now."
He swallowed hard and desperately tried to slow his racing heart and frantic breath.
He couldn't get himself out. Even if his ankle wasn't broken he couldn't risk expelling more carbon dioxide if he exerted himself. Beside, looking up into the shadows where the green glow of the sticks didn't reach, he realized there was no handle and the door hinges were on the other side. There would be no escaping.
Batman had been following the abductions for years, and still the detective had yet to find any lead on who the abductor was. The victims, Dick included, never saw the man's face. Attacked from behind, tasered into unconsciousness, masks and shadows, there was never any chance for them to see him. The burial sites and mediums were always different, but always large enough to give enough time to gather the ransom. The ransom demand itself was never too much, never a chance that the funds couldn't be raised in the time limit.
And the Gravedigger was always truthful. He followed his plan to the letter. The ransom was paid and within minutes coordinates were given and the buried individual was found, usually alive and relatively unharmed. The two bodies were found when the ransom was delivered too close to the deadline, and the three still missing had never paid.
Dick closed his eyes and licked his dried lips.
In twenty four hours he would go unconscious from Carbon Dioxide poisoning.
Twenty four hours and he might never wake up again.
The outer offices had come to a standstill when Commissioner Gordon arrived with Bruce and nearly a dozen Kidnap and Recovery specialists employed by the Gotham City PD. Word spread like fire through the building: The Gravedigger had taken Dick Grayson.
For more than two hours they officers has set up and worked behind the sound proof glass of the Wayne Enterprises main boardroom. The employees that had stayed behind to watch the drama enfold waited with abated breath as Lucius Fox stepped off the elevator and all but ran into the room.
He spoke only a few words before Bruce was suddenly grabbing his chair and throwing it against the glass. It shattered outward in an explosion of jagged shards and the man's roar of fury echoed into the once silent corridor.
Inside the room, a dozen people stared at the furious father as he spun on his CEO. "Why!?" was his only demand.
"The Proof of Life Clause that you initiated years ago." Lucius answered bluntly.
Bruce snarled, slamming his fist into the smooth surface of the board table. "Fine, if we can't get the money through Wayne Enterprises, take it from my own accounts!"
"Bruce," Gordon said as he hesitantly stepped forward. "I have to remind you that GCPD recommends non-payment-"
"And you'll kill his son," a petite woman interrupted angrily. "The Gravedigger doesn't bluff, and he never varies. There will be no negotiating, no second contact. If Mr. Wayne doesn't pay, then his son will die."
Bruce had never felt so useless, not in all the years since he first adopted his other persona. Batman, like the every other authority across the state, had nothing on the Gravedigger. Batman had no place here, and Bruce knew there was only chance for Dick and that was listening to the K&R specialists. "Lucius, can we get the money from my personal accounts?"
"They're too closely tied with Wayne Foundation," Lucius answered. "We can get it, but it would take at least forty-eight hours before the transfer could be made. It's why we went through the Company. But without Proof of Life, the bank won't release the funds. You wrote the clause, Bruce. It's iron clad."
"For me and the other board members," Bruce snapped. "Not Dick! Not him!"
"They're refusing to make that distinction."
"I don't care!" the distraught father shouted, making everyone in the room flinch at its volume. "It's my company, my money, my son! God damn it!" He threw his hands up in the air and started pacing as he tried to figure it out and fight his rising panic.
"The media's already running the story," Jim told the room. "He'll be watching it, following it just like everyone else. We use the news; send out a plea for more time."
"He won't answer," the woman shook her head. "It's been tried before and when the ransom is finally paid all it led to was a dead body."
The billionaire stopped at the head of the table, his hands coming to rest on its smooth surface while his head slumped to his chest. He was breathing hard, his rage leaving him panting as he struggled to calm himself.
"Mr. Wayne," she said calmly as she approached, "I've worked the last six Gravedigger abductions and it's always the same. This may be the largest ransom he's every demanded, but he's not stupid. He only asks what's possible. If you want Richard back, alive and unharmed, then you have got to somehow come up with the ransom in the next… twenty-two hours."
Gordon frowned. "We still have twenty-six hours till the dead line."
"Do you think you can follow the coordinates and dig him out that quickly, Commissioner?" She asked sarcastically before turning back to Bruce. "Mr. Wayne, don't play games with this man. The quicker your pay the ransom, the quicker we can find your son."
"Call the board, Lucius," Bruce told the man. "I don't care if they're half way across the world. Get them here in the next twelve hours or they're all fired."
Dick moaned as the glow stick fell from his unresponsive fingers and rolled off his lap to the floor beside him. It joined two others he had tried to snap as the last illuminated stick began to fade. Except the hard plastic cable around his wrists had long ago stopped circulation to his hands and now he could not get his fingers to work. They jerked and spasmed of their own accord and he could barely grip the thick sticks let alone hold them long enough to snap them to activate.
He bit his lip, resisting the urge to sigh, as he leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes.
His headache was getting worse, his pulse pounding steadily in his temples and in his swollen ankle painfully. It wasn't fast enough to be worrying, but he knew it was only a matter of time. Already the sweat was trickling down his forehead and the back of his neck and his temperature was rising. Whether that was due to the carbon dioxide or because of the injuries to his leg he couldn't tell.
"Death by infection or suffocation," He muttered. "Neither one an ideal way to go."
He drew in a slow breath and his head lolled to his chest. His already closed eyes grew even heavier as he exhaled.
'I wonder if Batman's looking for me,' he wondered as he sat in the dark created behind his lids. 'Trying to get around paying whatever insane amount Gravedigger asked for.' He snorted inside his head. 'Bruce's a billionaire, so he could ask for pretty much whatever he wants. How about… One million dollars! Heh, Dr. Evil was an awesome evil genius. I want to go back in time and quote Darth Vader. Luke I am your-"
His hands arms had gone limp, his hands falling to his lap and knocking the glow sticks to the floor. The sound of them striking had Dick snapping his eyes open and jerking his head up in a movement that spiked his heart rate.
"Stupid!"He hissed. "Concentrate, Grayson! Stay with it!"
He blinked a few times in the fading light and realized he only had a few more minutes before the last lighted glow stick faded out completely. He reached for one of the fresh ones but it slipped through his dead fingers again.
"God damn it!" He shouted in frustration, the sound reverberating around him. With a growl he brought his arms up to his face and started tugging at the plastic with his teeth.
The light went out.
Bruce stood on the opposite side of the room, staring out at the skyline of Gotham City as its lights burned into the night sky. He was worried, and he was no longer afraid to admit it. Only six board members had arrived, eight including Lucius and him. Of eighteen members they needed at least four more before they could hold a vote. According to the POL clause there had to be a two thirds in agreement to waive it before any monies were released for ransom. Most of them were old businessmen, interested more in money than their own families.
He just hoped they wouldn't fight him on this.
A coffee mug was held in front of him and he glanced over at the only woman in the room. Isabella Carter was the primary Kidnapped and Ransom specialist utilized by the FBI and Gotham City PD.
He nodded his thanks and took the mug from her but didn't drink.
She remained beside him, sipping from her own cup. "Is there no other way to gather the money, Mr. Wayne?" She asked him in a whisper a moment later. "Friends, associates, a hidden account-"
"If," Bruce growled and met the woman's eyes in their reflections, "you are insinuating I'm delaying payment for any reason... I will do everything in my power to get that money even if it means going to the bank and holding a gun to their heads while they transfer the funds."
She swallowed at the intensity in his eyes and nodded slowly. "Good."
"Bruce," Lucius called from across the room where he had just hung up the phone. "Steadtler and Witts just checked in with security and are on their way up."
"How much longer before we get the twelve?" Bruce asked, moving away from the woman and back to the long table.
"McLennan is on his way and should be here within the hour," Lucius informed him. "The rest were out of the country dealing with our holdings in Europe and Japan. Earle is the next closest in San Diego and I've sent the Wayne Jet to collect him. He should be here in four hours. The rest would be at least another eight hours."
"It's already been ten hours, Lucius," Bruce said quietly as he stood next to his business partner.
Lucius gripped his shoulder tightly in comfort. "We'll get him back, Bruce. I promise you."
It felt like he had just run a four minute mile, and yet he hadn't moved in hours.
Dick forced his eyes open, panting for breath with his heart pounding inside his chest.
The light was fading again.
He reached out with one hand, the broken cable tie lying next to the spare glow sticks. He eyed it critically, wondering if he should use it to pen a message to Bruce while he was still coherent.
A plasti-cuff quill inked in blood…
Shuddering at the image of Bruce finding his body and a farewell message in his own blood, Dick grabbed one of the sticks and snapped it.
Bruce would pay the ransom…
"Where is he?"
The board had gathered in the conference room down the hall, eleven men waiting for the twelfth who was two hours late. Bruce was pacing in agitation, while Lucius and the other board members watched from their chairs with Jim and Isabella watching from their places at the back of the room.
Lucius glanced at the clock, a frown present on his face. "His plan landed as scheduled, Bruce. The pilot checked in and said Earle left in the car we had waiting for him. He should be here."
The billionaire's nostrils flared I anger and spoke through grit teeth. "He's killing Dick, Lucius! Call him. Again."
Lucius nodded and reached for the phone, only to have the door open before he could dial.
William Earle stepped into the conference room followed by two men in suits. "I am sorry, Bruce, but I had to stop at my attorney's office before coming in."
Rage was seething, visibly, beneath Bruce's azure eyes. "Your attorney?"
"I understand this is a trying time for you, Bruce, but I am here under duress and I will not be bullied or pressured into anything. These gentlemen," he motioned to the suits behind him, "are here to ensure that anything we vote on right now is done above board."
Everyone in the room blanched at Earle's words.
For once in his life, Bruce's façade faltered and the Batman stared down the man. "Are you telling me," he growled, "that you came here with every intention of voting against the motion to waive the Proof of Life Clause?"
"I will not allow you to set a precedent in matters like this," Earl said calmly, ignoring the aghast looks he was receiving. "The POL was put into place for a reason. If you make the exception once-"
"It's Dick, William!" Bruce bellowed. "You know him! He doesn't deserve to die in some unknown grave because you don't want to pony up the money!"
"I truly am sorry, Bruce," Earle said, the insincerity of those words plain to every there. "But you pay one ransom once, you send the message that we'll deal and negotiate with every other low life out there out for a quick buck."
"What if it was your son, William?" Lucius tried, seeing Bruce close to the edge of losing control. "What if it was Jeremy that was being held hostage?"
"My son wouldn't be as irresponsible and stupidly reckless to be in the situation in the first place!"
Bruce was moving before anyone realized it, and a second later Earle was on the floor with a broken nose. Bruce loomed over him but spoke to Gordon. "I want him arrested."
"On what charges!?" Earle demanded from behind the hand clutching his nose.
"To start," Jim growled as he picked up the man by the collar of his suit jacket, "accessory after the fact to kidnapping and conspiracy to commit murder."
"Murder!?" The businessman looked between the commissioner and Bruce then to the other board members but saw no help there.
"You just admitted to willing to cast vote to let Dick die, William," Lucius told him with a disgusted sneer, "In front of witnesses and your attorneys. I don't think even they would have a prayer in getting you acquitted."
"I don't think I have to tell you that you're fired, Mr. Earle." Bruce said with a gleam of triumph in his somber eyes. "Such charges are unbecoming a member of the Wayne Enterprises Family.
Earle stiffened and glared at Bruce. "It won't change anything, Bruce. Even with seventeen members you still need twelve votes to waive the POL!"
"It rounds down," Lucius said smugly and stood. "I make the motion to waive the Proof of Life requirement and release the twenty-five million dollars ransom for the return of Richard John Grayson-Wayne."
"So seconded," another board member readily agreed.
"All those in favor?" Lucius called the vote.
The unanimous vote had Bruce's shoulder's slumping in relief. He turned away from Earle as the commissioner handed him off to one of the offers outside. He didn't really think the charges would stick, nor that he would ever see the inside of a cell, but it was cause enough to dismiss the loathsome man and get things in motion to getting Dick back.
"Lucius, how long before the money can be transferred?"
"I'll contact the bank right away but they'll need to be notarized documents and signatures and-"
"Don't tell me how, just how long!"
Dick tried to ignore the burning in his lungs, the ringing in his ears, and the sparks dancing about his peripheral vision. It was hard to focus and he fought the urge to cough at the sensation clawing at his airway.
"Can't… breathe… Bruce…" He whispered as the crimson stained plastic scratched across the metal floor. "Can't think…straight… either… but have… to tell you… have to… let… you know…"
His fingers fumbled around the thin plastic as the world tilted around him. He clenched his eyes shut, the sparks exploding across his vision in a dizzying array of sparks. The feeling passed after a moment and his tongue darted out in a futile effort to moisten his lips.
He opened his eyes and continued. "I hear… my… mother sing…ing… she's… here… nearby… calling me…I don't… I want… to stay…"
He coughed involuntarily and lost his hold on the plastic. It fell across what he hoped were words, but with his body and mind betraying him he couldn't be certain.
Still, he hoped.
"It's done," Lucius said, hanging up the phone and slumping back into the chair.
Bruce was once again staring out over the city but turned at the man's words. They were alone in his office, the door to the connecting Boardroom open to where he could see the others milling about. He watched Jim speaking with Isabella and the pair glanced back when they felt his gaze on them. They offered him what he assumed were meant as reassuring smiles, but he felt anything but reassured.
Bruce turned away and looked down at the cell phone in his hand.
All there was left to do now was wait.
The last of the green was fading, the light giving away to the black creeping in on him.
As it had for the last several hours, it went unnoticed.
Cerulean eyes had closed in their exhaustion and had yet to reopen.
Lips parted and lungs struggled as they tried to find the precious oxygen they needed.
Arm stretched out into the darkness, fingers brushing against the words scratched out in blood.
I know you tried. I'm sorry I didn't wait for you. Don't blame yourself. Thank you for everything you've done. You are a great father.
The Commissioner's cry had the crowd stopping everything they were doing. His hands were raised above his head and he was waving for the backhoe operator to shut it down. "You've hit something!"
Bruce was running from the car where he had been waiting for the last half hour with Lucius and Alfred. The coordinate they had been given had led to the gravel quarry just south of the city. It was in receivership so it, along with all the equipment, had been abandoned and left behind. The backhoe had been only yards away from the approximate dig site with the keys still in the ignition.
Now, the heavy machine was backing away from the hole that had been dug and men were moving down into the pit with shovel.
Standing at the edge of the precipice, Bruce watched the men digging away at the dirt and gravel still covering the now partially exposed shipping container. He worried his lip between his teeth, hoping and praying to any god listening that they were in time.
The minutes were agonizing, but soon the door was being lifted. One of the officers looked down into the black before turning back to the others waiting outside the hole. "I need the spotlight."
A large lamp was handed down and shone into the container.
"We got him!"
He had honestly thought he would never wake up.
But the cool air around him, the noises of the hospital outside his room, and the soft murmur of a familiar tenor voice drew him out of the black that had claimed him. Dick inhaled deeply, shifting in the bed, and gained the attention of the room's other occupant.
"Bruce," his voice cracked and he coughed at the irritation speaking had on his throat.
His guardian's hand was on his arm and he sighed as the tension of his ordeal retreated at the man's comfort. A straw was touched to his lips and he greedily accepted the tepid water. Slowly, he opened his eyes.
Bruce's concerned face hovered beside him but the relief was shining behind those familiar blue eyes. "How are you feeling?"
Dick swallowed, taking stock of himself before answering. "Numb," he admitted in a whisper after a moment.
The older man smiled and shifted to sit on the edge of the mattress next to the teen. "They've given you the good stuff; for your ankle. You managed to break it in four different places."
"Damn," he groaned, looking down the length of his bed to where he saw the thick plastic brace encasing his leg. It was elevated above the bed with traction cables suspended through the ceiling. "Coach is going to be pissed."
With a scoff, Bruce shook his head. "I think your place on the gymnastics' team is safe, Dick. There were, after all, extenuating circumstances."
"I suppose if there's any acceptable excuse to skip out on practice it's because I broke my ankle trying to avoid being buried alive."
Bruce swallowed heavily and Dick saw his hands tighten into fists. Reaching out he placed his own over his father's and eased the fingers open. "I'm right here, Bruce."
"You almost weren't," the man growled, looking down at the smaller hand trying to reassure him. "I almost didn't get to you in time."
"Talk about déjà-vu," Dick chuckled. "Didn't we have this exact discussion back in December?"
It was obvious that Bruce wanted to fight the grin, but the quirk of the corner of his mouth gave it away. It lasted but a moment before the grimness returned to Bruce's expression. "I couldn't find you, Dick. For all my toys and gadgets and training and skills, I couldn't risk taking the time to try finding you. In the end, I was completely useless and helpless and I do not like that feeling."
"I didn't like it either," Dick told him seriously. "I'd read the files, Bruce. I knew exactly who grabbed me and what was going to happen. I tried to escape and look what it got me? I knew-" he swallowed the sudden lump in his throat and coughed to clear it. "I knew that no matter the amount he asked it was going to be hard to get the money. I know how much of, and how closely, you've tied your own wealth into your company. I knew that there was chance I wasn't getting out of the container. I knew that once I lost consciousness there was a chance I'd never wake up. I knew that and…"
"I know you tried," the teen whispered. "I know you tried. I'm sorry I didn't wait for you. Don't blame yourself. Thank you for everything you've done. You are a great father."
Bruce pulled the quietly crying teen up and into his arms, holding him even as the tears soaked into his shirt. He pressed a warm kiss to the top of Dick's head. "I saw it, Dick. Jim showed me a picture."
"I could feel it happening," Dick said quietly as he buried his head against Bruce's shoulder. "I couldn't breathe and I couldn't think. I heard my mother calling to me and I didn't want to go. I had to tell you-"
"I know," Bruce tightened the embrace and just sat there holding and comforting his son. "I know.
Isabella Carter was utterly spent.
She'd gone the last forty-eight hours without sleep and it was taking its toll. But it was worth it, in the end.
Bruce Wayne had paid the Gravedigger's ransom and got his son back.
The specialist flopped onto her bed and sighed. Even as exhausted as she was there was one thing left to do before she could close the case file. Turning onto her side she opened the bedside draw and pulled out the computer tablet stored there.
Turning it on, she pressed her hand onto the screen as the identification program ran and confirmed who she was. With a smile she opened up the only app on the main screen.
Bruce Wayne had paid the Gravedigger's ransom, and there is was. All twenty-five million dollars waiting for her to transfer it from the account she had set up in the Caymans.
A click here and tap on the screen and a password accompanied by a scan of her fingerprint and away the money went, straight into a Swiss Bank Account where it would be filtered through several other numbered accounts before-
No, wait, that wasn't right…
The money wasn't transferring.
Isabella sat up on the bed, wide awake as the virus that had been hidden beneath the electronic money transfer spread through her chain of accounts.
"No, no no no!" She was screaming by the time the virus had run its course.
She couldn't breathe…
It was gone.
It was all gone.
Years of work: Gone.
Planning and executing and integrating into the investigations and keeping above suspicion, all for naught.
Every last penny.
Tens of millions of dollars: Gone.
Isabella couldn't breathe.
A new app had been downloaded onto her tablet and with trembling hands she activated it.
"Your money has been buried alive," Bruce Wayne's voice was calm and it sent a shiver of fear down her spine. "You dared to take my son and now you have paid for that mistake. A trace of this virus has followed the money back to you. A copy of that trace is already on its way to the FBI. They know who you are now. I know who you are. Don't try to run. Don't try to hide. You have no where that you can go where I cannot find you. Be smart, wait for the FBI. This will be my last communication."
The tablet fell from her fingers and to the floor next to her bed. In shock, she could only stare at the wall and wondering where it had all gone wrong.
Three hours later, as the FBI broke down the door to her apartment, she still had not moved.